• Family

    • Liberal Conspiracy
  • Comrades

    • Andy Worthington
    • Angela Saini
    • Bartholomew’s notes
    • Bleeding Heart Show
    • Bloggerheads
    • Blood & Treasure
    • Campaign against Honour Killings
    • Cath Elliott
    • Chicken Yoghurt
    • Daily Mail Watch
    • Dave Hill
    • Dr. Mitu Khurana
    • Europhobia
    • Faith in Society
    • Feminism for non-lefties
    • Feministing
    • Gender Bytes
    • Harry’s Place
    • IKWRO
    • MediaWatchWatch
    • Ministry of Truth
    • Natalie Bennett
    • New Statesman blogs
    • Operation Black Vote
    • Our Kingdom
    • Robert Sharp
    • Rupa Huq
    • Shiraz Socialist
    • Shuggy’s Blog
    • Stumbling and Mumbling
    • Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • The F Word
    • Though Cowards Flinch
    • Tory Troll
    • UK Polling Report
  • In-laws

    • Aaron Heath
    • Douglas Clark's saloon
    • Earwicga
    • Get There Steppin’
    • Incurable Hippie
    • Neha Viswanathan
    • Power of Choice
    • Rita Banerji
    • Sarah
    • Sepia Mutiny
    • Sonia Faleiro
    • Southall Black Sisters
    • The Langar Hall
    • Turban Head

  • 3rd November, 2010

    A visit to the breasturant Hooters in Bristol

    by guest at 1:47 pm    

    A guest post by MitziRosie who visited Hooters in Bristol so we don’t have to!

    So many debates about this place say words to the effect of “how can you comment when you’ve never been there?”  Simple answer: easily.  However, to speak with some authority I went there with another like-minded soul. Setting aside any predisposition to find the place repellent, the keys issues here are how does the place apparently score on:

    1. The sexism quotient.
    2. The standard of the food.
    3. Other facilities.

    The sexism quotient is everything and more you would believe it to be.   Too little space to do justice here. Obvious matters: “girls” dressed as we all know and apparently many goose-pimples through lack of warmth;  signs everywhere reflecting upon the female form of course (caution bumps; caution blondes thinking - hung upside down; dangerous curves etc);  material on sale as can be found by searching the product pages on their website, but let’s just pick out for these purposes a pair of male boxer shorts (a snip at £14.95) bearing the words “more than a mouthful”  And finally the menus themselves bedecked in girly calendar adverts etc.  Oh, and I should add, the system of the mainly male cooks shouting across the whole restaurant for service and the clapping of hands to get the “girls” to come running.   Charmless.

    The sexism quotient:   100%.

    It would be really easy to slag off the food just to spoil the place and, after all, the food could be perfectly all right.  But it was not.  It was awful and utterly overpriced.  (more…)

    Filed under: Culture,Sex equality
    25th October, 2010

    Tackling LGBT forced marriage

    by Rumbold at 5:15 pm    

    The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has reported an increase in the number of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) teenagers coming forward to ask for help from them:

    This year, the FMU has dealt with 29 confirmed cases of forced marriage involving gay men and women. Last year, the unit offered support and advice to nearly 1,700 cases in total.

    Just how many of those involved lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) victims is unknown, because not everyone is willing to divulge their sexuality. However, it is thought this emerging trend is just the tip of the iceberg, as more gay men and women seek assistance.

    A number have been referred by the Albert Kennedy trust, which specialises in helping LGBT teenagers. Many of these teenagers have been forced into marriage either because their parents don’t know about their sexuality, or else see marriage as a way to ‘cure’ their children from being NEH (Not Exclusively Heterosexual). One girl, Reviva, interviewed by the BBC, spoke about her experiences once her parents found out about her sexuality:

    The troubled teenager was taken to her grandmother’s house in the Middle East where, as she recalls with a chilling lack of emotion, her parents tried persuading her to take her own life. “I was damaging the family honour. I was making the family looking like a modernised, westernised, filthy family. So what they wanted to do is get rid of what is damaging the honour.

    “They put you in a room on your own, I don’t get any food, or any water, and I have to just sit there and wait to die or kill myself.” To aid the process, a gun, a knife, and pills were left in the room, along with a can of petrol and a box of matches. In her view, Reviva says it would have amounted to murder, not suicide, should she have decided to kill herself.

    Many LGBT teenagers, whatever their backgrounds, feel that they have no one to turn to about their issues (though organisations do exist, as shown above), given the bullying and abuse that can result from such a revelation, whether at school or at home. Until this is tackled, LGBT teenagers forced into a marriage will feel even more isolated than their heterosexual counterparts. That is certainly not to excuse the attitudes which lead to forced marriage, but rather highlight areas others can work on in order to reduce this practice by making LGBT teenagers feel as though there are more people they can turn to.

    Update: The 5 Live Investigates programme is here and an interview with the head of the Forced Marriage Unit is here (thanks to Richard for sending in the links).

    4th October, 2010

    Dr. Mitu Khurana: the fight goes on

    by Rumbold at 9:38 pm    

    Dr. Mitu Khurana, whose case Pickled Politics covered extensively here and here, is facing new obstacles in the fight to gain permanent custody of her two daughters, Guddu and Pari.

    Dr. Mitu has been battling her husband and in-laws for years. Her troubles began when she refused to have an ultrasound (which is illegal in India due to the fear of female foeticide if the mother is found to be pregnant with girls); this upset her in-laws, who poisoned her and took her to a hospital in order to have the ultrasound done. When it was found she was pregnant with twin girls, she was pressured to have an abortion. She refused, and when they were born, she was expected to give them up for adoption. She did not want to, so her in-laws started conspiring against her, with her mother in-law pushing her then four month old daughter down the stars on one occasion.

    Dr. Mitu eventually left the house with her daughters for good, and filed a complaint under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act, the first individual to do so. Since then her in-laws have taken her to court in order to gain partial custody of her children, an action she believes is merely a ploy in order to get her to drop the complaint against them and the hospital. Numerous officials she has encountered have been unsympathetic or downright hostile. A high court judge even told her to reconcile with her husband and in-laws after they had tried to kill one of her daughters.

    Now, with the court case dragging on, Dr. Mitu was shocked to find that her husband has applied to take custody of the now five-year old twins, whom Dr. Mitu is forced to bring to every court session (about once a month) for no apparent reason.

    Rita Banerji has been coordinating a petition in support of Dr. Mitu.

    20th September, 2010

    In partial defence of Sally Bercow

    by Rumbold at 9:45 am    

    Sally Bercow, best known as the wife of the Speaker, has come in for criticism once again after repeatedly tweeting various controversial views. Sally Bercow deserves to be heavily criticised for her use of ‘mental’ to describe George Osbone; a sadly all too common theme amongst people who feel that mocking mental issues and the people who suffer from them is the best way to criticise an opponent’s policies.

    That aside, some of the criticism is unfair and sexist. A number of critics have called for the Speaker to ‘rein in’ his wife, as if she is some sort of animal. Mrs. Bercow is entitled to air her opinions on whatever she sees fit. It was her husband who was elected to the speaker’s chair, not her. She should be free to continue her political career, providing that she doesn’t not use the resources of the Speaker’s office to do so:

    Some critics have said her comments cheapen the historic office of Speaker. And the fact that the Speaker is supposed to be impartial is undermined by Mrs Bercow’s attempts to find a Labour seat so she can become an MP, they claim. In May, Mrs Bercow failed in an attempt to become a Labour councillor.

    Tory MP Nadine Dorries said Mrs Bercow only had a platform because of her husband and should not be using it to attack her party. She said: ‘It is absolutely outrageous that she should now be commenting on debates that the Speaker may or may not have granted. ‘It is totally unprecedented, unseemly and in bad taste. Mrs Bercow is letting down Parliament and the majority of people think she should just shut up.

    Moreover, John Bercow was already politically compromised when he was elected, having been put in the chair despite massive expenses fraud, solely to annoy Conservative MPs.

    4th August, 2010

    Domestic violence ASBO trial halted

    by Rumbold at 9:56 pm    

    There has been a lot of controversy about the decision to scrap a plan to ban people whom the police suspected of domestic violence from their homes for two weeks, allowing their partners time to escape:

    A scheme to protect women from domestic abuse by removing violent partners from the family home is being scrapped by the Government as part of its drive to cut public spending.

    Under the so-called “go orders” planned for England and Wales, senior police would have been given the power to act instantly to safeguard families they considered at threat.

    Violent men would have been banned from their homes for up two weeks, giving their victims the chance to seek help to escape abuse.

    The first thing to note was that we have no idea how effective the powers were, as they were never trialled. But was it a good idea? Probably. This would have given women (and men) the breathing space they needed to escape from abusive partners, as it is difficult (and traumatic) to flee instantly, without any possessions or ID.

    What about the civil liberties aspect though? The powers were meant to target those who were domestically violent but whom the police weren’t confident about bringing criminal charges against. On one hand, this is an infringement of civil liberties (as the orders are specifically designed for those against whom the police doesn’t have enough evidence) as it places significant power in the hands of the police (imagine being banned from your home and local area because the police suspected you of something but couldn’t charge you). On the other hand it is a very specific power which isn’t the same as detention without trial (as the person would be mostly free). It could only be used by senior officers, and in many ways it seems similar to the ASBOs of yesteryear.

    How effective would it have been though? We don’t know, and that is why it is a shame it wasn’t trialled, otherwise the following question might have been answered: did the protection of the vulnerable outweigh the misuse of the power by the police?

    25th July, 2010

    Female genital mutilation in Britain

    by Rumbold at 3:19 pm    

    Building on previous investigations, the Observer has further uncovered the scale of female genital mutilation (FGM) which happens to girls living in Britain:

    Some 500 to 2,000 British schoolgirls will be genitally mutilated over the summer holidays. Some will be taken abroad, others will be “cut” or circumcised and sewn closed here in the UK by women already living here or who are flown in and brought to “cutting parties” for a few girls at a time in a cost-saving exercise…

    Even girls who suffer less extreme forms of FGM are unlikely to be promiscuous. One study among Egyptian women found 50% of women who had undergone FGM “endured” rather than enjoyed sex.

    The practice is widespread in certain parts of the world, especially Africa, where it cuts across religious lines. It emerged in North Africa in the pre-Christian era, and is a long established tradition in places like Egypt. Neither the Qur’an nor the Bible orders or forbids FGM, which adds to the uncertainty which allows the practice to thrive. Leading Islamic scholars, including Sunni Islam’s foremost jurist, condemned the practice a few years ago, but other notable religious teachers have continued to endorse FGM, suffering little opprobrium in the process. The head of the Coptic Church has also criticised the practice, but this hasn’t been enough to stop it amongst Copts.

    Continue Reading...
    22nd July, 2010

    Good news! Government supports funding for women victims

    by Sunny at 10:21 am    

    Well, credit where it is due. Amnesty’s End Violence Against Women project have sent out this mail:

    Dear Supporter,

    I’m delighted to tell you that on Friday the Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced that she would extend the current No Recourse pilot project until March 2011. This enables women trapped in violent relationships by the ‘no recourse’ rule to access protection from which they would otherwise have been turned away.

    Even better, she said that she would then be working on a permanent solution. The Home Secretary made this pledge despite the cuts climate, saying “some things are too important”. This is great news.

    We will, of course, continue to try to work with the government to ensure that the project addresses some of the weaknesses in the current pilot, but this announcement is a major step forward that will give hundreds of women safety over the coming months, and beyond. Definitely something to celebrate.

    To his credit John McDonnell MP tried to push this campaign too (it affected groups like Southall Black Sisters) but the last Labour government (to their shame) didn’t move on this much.

    via the F Word blog

    19th July, 2010

    Burka ban unlikely in UK

    by Rumbold at 10:01 pm    

    The private member’s bill introduced by a backbench Tory to ban burkas is even less likely to succeed after two Conservative ministers attacked the proposed ban as ‘unBritish’ (perhaps because the French are now debating one). There are plenty of campaigners for a burka ban who are motivated by a genuine concern for women’s rights, and plenty more who aren’t. But I am glad, for three reasons, that a burka ban is unlikely to come into effect.

    Firstly, it is difficult to enforce. Do you arrest or fine everyone who has their face covered? For how long must it be covered? What if you are in fancy dress, or have had your face painted? Serious crimes (crimes against other people) would, cet par, rise, as police and the courts would have this extra law to deal with.

    Secondly, it is an attack on civil liberties. People should have the right to wear what they want, providing they are not harming another person (I would back the right of nudes to walk around too). Once the state starts to regulate dress, you are on a very slippery slope.

    Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t tackle the root causes of what campaigners like Diana Nammi are trying to stamp out. It doesn’t make women any less oppressed, or make their relatives/in-laws any more liberal. It may in fact lead to greater restrictions on women’s rights as the sort of families who force women to wear burkas are the sort who wouldn’t let a woman go out uncovered.

    In order to help the women forced or pressured into wearing the niqab/burka, other measures need to be undertaken. The state needs to ensure that such women have full access to state services, whilst vigorously prosecuting cases of domestic/’honour’-based violence. British society meanwhile must resist bowing to cultural relativism by arguing that pressuring women to wear burkas is okay because it is part of someone else’s culture. It is not okay to oppress women.

    13th July, 2010

    Child rapist freed by Switzerland

    by Rumbold at 10:02 pm    

    After a concerted campaign by rape apologists, Roman Polanski has been freed by a Swiss court, thus freeing him from possible extradition to America, which he had fled after raping a child decades earlier. The fact that people still defend him and praise him is disgusting, and chilling when one considers that only his fame and talent (rather than natural justice) allowed him to escape a crime for which he was convicted. Whether his films are any good is irrelevant. He drugged and raped a child, and fled before he could serve his sentence.

    Filed under: Sex equality
    4th July, 2010

    Just fine words?

    by Rumbold at 11:01 am    

    The UN has announced the formation of a new body dedicated to advancing the cause of women:

    The General Assembly voted unanimously on Friday to launch a new agency called UN Women. It will begin its work in January, have a high-level leader, probably twice the $250m annual budget now allocated to gender issues, and will be tasked with challenging governments on women’s plights and rights.

    It is not clear how much of a positive impact this will have, as previous UN bodies have often proved to be detrimental to the cause they purport to represent. The UN ‘Human Rights Council’ was famously obsessed with attacking Israel (ignoring North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe, etc.), whilst the UN also debated a worldwide blasphemy law designed to stifle criticism of religion.

    There are plenty of dedicated individuals and groups working for and with the UN. The question is, will the UN’s members allow them to really fight for women’s rights in various countries, or will this take a back seat to political considerations?

    8th June, 2010

    Misogyny turned good: #DannyDyerDonate

    by guest at 1:43 pm    

    guest post from Liam Barrington-Bush

    A quick timeline:
    7/6/10, 4:00pm – I’m ‘on Twitter’; I notice a Tweet from @VictoriaPeckham, that said a remarkably low 24 people went to see Danny Dyer’s new film, Pimp, during its entire opening weekend; £205 was grossed. The blog points out that Dyer was last in the news when his advice column in Zoo lads’ mag had caused fury, after he recommended a reader cut an ex-girlfriend’s face, so ‘no one would want her’.

    7/6/10, 4:10pm – I noticed that @andyvglnt had also picked-up the story, Tweeting “Danny Dyer’s new flick take £205 in 1st weekend? @Diazzzz and I took more than that for band t-shirts and cupcakes yesterday!” Banter ensues… we decide that more people would choose to support the women Dyer ‘jokes’ about cutting, than would want to see his film.  I suggest finding a suitable charity and sending a link to their donate page, @andyvglnt suggests a page on JustGiving.com, so we could see “how much more generous people are than Dyer is successful.”

     7/6/10, 4:20pm – In about 10 minutes, I’d set-up a JustGiving page for #DannyDyerDonate, giving money to Solace Women’s Aid. I sent the following Tweet: “Danny Dyer’s ‘PIMP’ film made £205; can we raise more for the women he ‘jokes’ of abusing? http://bit.ly/aK91xw #DannyDyerDonate”

    7/6/10, 6:30 – £210 had been made, surpassing the goal and outdoing ‘Pimp’s opening weekend take.

    8/6/10, 9:25am – £420 had been raised for Solace Women’s Aid, via 47 separate donors, pitching in between £2 and £100 each.

    Continue Reading...
    5th June, 2010

    Female newsreaders on Al Jazeera

    by Rumbold at 10:53 am    

    It seems that it is not only British news channels that obsess about their female presenters’ looks, whether in terms of clothes or age. Five female newsreaders of the Arabic version of AL Jazeera have resigned after having their clothes criticised by a senior employee. Nesrine Malik explains:

    The channel is no stranger to controversy. In the latest instalment, five of its most high-profile female presenters have resigned in an apparent dispute about the dress code. The five are reportedly among a group of eight women working for al-Jazeera who had filed a complaint about “repeated offensive public remarks” about “clothes and decency” from a senior al-Jazeera employee.

    Filed under: Sex equality
    26th May, 2010

    Rape myths debated in schools

    by Rumbold at 10:04 pm    

    The Telegraph disapproves. I think it is a good idea:

    Children as young as 11 are being asked to debate myths surrounding rape – including claims that “women ask for it by wearing short skirts”. A charity is distributing teaching materials to secondary schools as part of a campaign to end violence against women.

    The pack, which schools can buy for £100, covers subjects such as domestic violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, prostitution and human trafficking. Rape Crisis said the lessons were intended to encourage mixed classes of boys and girls to discuss issues surrounding rape.

    In one class, pupils are asked to debate claims that “women enjoy rape”, while another lesson instructs children to discuss the myth that “women ask for it by wearing short skirts, drinking alcohol etc”.

    As long as we live in a society where people are still willing to victim-blame, we need education like this. And as with a lot of reports regarding schools, I suspect that eleven year olds are not being taught about the graphic aspects; it is just that they happen to be at the same school.

    Filed under: Sex equality
    23rd May, 2010

    Would anonymity for defendants benefit rape victims too?

    by Rumbold at 1:11 pm    

    There has been a furore over government plans to grant anonymity to those accused of rape (their accusers already have their identity protected). A number of feminists have come out and argued that this simply tilts the scales further in favour of men, as it gives the impression that rape defendants need special protection. There are also fears that not naming the accused would stop other women coming forward if they heard about a trial, and so it would be harder to convict serial rapists like John Warboys.

    Obviously, this change is better for the men accused of rape (which is good, as they are innocent until proven guilty), but could it be better for women too? Perhaps. We know from studies that some people are willing to blame the rape victim (or at least partially blame her), for the rape. This, combined with a perception that some rape victims are lying and desperate for attention, is likely to have a negative impact on some jurors, thus making them less likely to convict. Anonymity would eliminate the notion that a woman is seeking publicity, making some on the jury more sympathetic to their claims.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Sex equality
    16th May, 2010

    Why more women aren’t in politics

    by Rumbold at 8:51 pm    

    Lynne Featherstone, the new equalities minister, has criticised the ‘macho culture’ of parliament, while labelling the coalition negotiating teams as ‘pale and male’:

    “We are a long way from equality and we need to find out why that is,” she told the Guardian.

    “Looking at parliament and the way it behaves, any sane woman would look at that and say do I want to be part of this bullying, finger-pointing mob who don’t talk like human beings and are disengaged from real life? To try and manage a young family makes it very difficult.”

    The impressive Ms. Featherstone has asked the question that a lot of people can answer, but which no one can answer precisely. We can say for certain that there are issues holding women back from politics, otherwise there would be more of them in the field. But which factors? There are various factors affecting the number of women in politics, which fall broadly into two categories: attitudinal and structural.

    Attitudinal factors relate to a person’s views (whether male or female). In this context they matter when the person believes that women are not suitable for the political arena, because they are ‘naturally more domestic’, or not intelligent enough, or various other sexist views. These are fairly straightforward, and may be views held by either sex, or indeed a potential female candidate themselves. Attitudes like this can lead to rejection at the selection stage, hence the calls for all-women shortlists and similar devices.

    Structural issues are those which affect the nature of the role, such as the need for non-London MPs to spend extended periods of time in the capital. Structural issues can be more complex, as they overlap and sometimes contradict attitudinal ones. Take Ms. Featherstone’s remarks quoted above. She points to a structural issue, which is one of managing a young family while being a female MP. Yet this is also an attitudinal one, as it is based on society’s general view that women should (and will) do more to look after children then men. And her critique of the “bullying, finger-pointing mob who don’t talk like human beings and are disengaged from real life” is true enough, but then it again highlights the view that women are not supposed to be as confrontational as men. So making parliament more family friendly and less confrontational will help attract more women to politics, but it might not do anything to change attitudes (at least not initially).

    So which is the most important issue to work on in order to increase the number of female candidates/MPs? Is it attitudinal factors, or structural ones? The former matter more, but the latter are easier and quicker to fix. Dealing with structural problems is likely to increase the number of female MPs, but it isn’t until we see a greater shift in attitudes that the problem will really be solved.

    11th April, 2010

    Starkey and female historians (part 3)

    by Rumbold at 2:10 pm    

    This time last year TV historian David Starkey attacked female historians for ‘feminising’ history and supposedly dumbing down the subject. His criticism focused on the idea that female historians were concentrating too much on things like relationships and women, which gave a false picture of the past. This was an incorrect assertion, as there are plenty of female historians writing on topics that don’t revolve around relationships and women. Dr. Starkey’s criticisms, I felt, could be explained in part by his position as a TV historian, rather than as an academic one.

    Now he is at it again. In an interview, the TV historian claims that female historians tend to be quite pretty and like to show off their looks, with the implication being that they are academic lightweights who can only compete with ‘intellectual titans’ like him if they flaunt themselves:

    Now the historian David Starkey has poured vitriol on his female competitors, likening their books to “historical Mills & Boon”.

    The broadcaster and writer, whose speciality is Tudor history, says patronisingly that women who write history books are “usually quite pretty” — and eager to show off their looks on their book covers.

    Once again, Dr. Starkey has attacked female historians without any foundation: it is not clear whether he is just trying to generate publicity for a new project or whether is it evidence of something more deep-seated (such as a dislike of women or envy at colleagues who have stayed within the academic sphere so are more respected).

    Hundreds of books and articles are published by female historians each year. Few of them ever have a small picture of the author on the front, and most of them are on serious and well-researched topics (just like most articles and books by male historians). I wouldn’t be able to recognise most female historians I have read by sight, and know that their books speak for themselves. A quick survey of my collection reveals precisely zero books where the historian’s (male or female) picture is visible on either the front or back cover, but then I don’t own anything by David Starkey.

    Filed under: History,Sex equality
    9th March, 2010

    Gendercide dissected

    by Rumbold at 8:22 pm    

    The Economist this week carries an excellent and in-depth look at gendercide, the term coined to describe the impact that the deliberate attempt to favour male babies over female ones has had on the male-female sex ratio throughout the world. It looks at the statistics, and what has caused such a skewing to occur, and what its impacts are and may be.

    There is a natural imbalance between boys and girls, with nature ensuring roughly 5% more boys are born than girls in order to compensate for boys being more susceptible to diseases as infants. Yet in many parts of the developing world, there is too much of a numerical gap between the sexes for it to be a natural phenomenon.

    The increasingly availability of ultrasound and abortion has played a big part in the skewing of the sex ratio, as it is easier to abort a female foetus then to kill a female baby, especially if you know the sex of the foetus. Indian doctors once advertised the ‘benefits’ of ultrasound technology with the slogan:

    “Pay 5,000 rupees today and save 50,000 rupees tomorrow” (the saving was on the cost of a daughter’s dowry).”

    Continue Reading...
    5th March, 2010

    Are British Muslims in peril?

    by guest at 11:47 am    

    This is a guest post by Shaaz Mahboob of British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD)

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia appears to be at a crossroads today. For decades the alliance between its powerful clergy and the royal family has proved to be one of the most stable and blissful. However, King Abdullah’s recent flirtation with modernity appears to have backfired. Cracks are now visible in this alliance that has up until now successfully acted as a vanguard against attempts to democratise the oil-rich state or to bring any progressive reforms to its society.

    The ‘King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’ (KAUST) is indeed a welcome step by the King, who has experimented with putting men and women together in a learning environment, never seen or heard before in a country governed under strict ultra-orthodox Wahabi variant of Islam. Not only has this initiative been well received by the Saudi public, the King has to be credited for his boldness in crushing any dissent by the clergy who are disdainful of this attempt to change the fundamental structure of Saudi society. They are not only taken aback by this blatant liberalism allowing gender-mixing, but also by the scientific elements that are being taught at the university, such as evolution and other aspects of modern technology. It is indeed ironic that such clerics in Saudi Arabia and across the world shun topics like the theory of evolution as “blasphemous” yet are equally comfortable using the wonders of science such as mobile telephones, internet and the good old television to spread sectarianism, inequality of men and women as well as hatred for all those who do not adhere to their version of Wahabi Islam.

    Continue Reading...
    23rd February, 2010

    Autism in girls

    by Rumbold at 8:18 pm    

    The Independent reports that autism, traditonally seen as a much more male condition, might be more common in girls than previously realised:

    Autism is an overwhelmingly male diagnosis – it has been described as the “extreme male brain”. Boys with the diagnosis outnumber girls by between 10 and 15 to one…

    But in the developing story of autism – interest in which has increased hugely in the last decade – girls have been neglected. That omission will be remedied this week with the first conference on autistic spectrum disorders in women and girls. One aim will be to examine whether the condition has been underdiagnosed in females – and what links there may be with eating disorders.

    According to Janet Treasure, professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, around a fifth of girls diagnosed with anorexia have autistic spectrum features and 20 to 30 per cent may have exhibited rigidity and perfectionism in childhood. Anorexia has been called the female Asperger’s (the mild version of autism).

    3rd February, 2010

    Dr. Mitu Khurana: an update

    by Rumbold at 7:54 pm    

    Dr. Mitu Khurana’s final court date for custody of her children is approaching. Some of you may remember Mitu’s story, but for those who don’t, I have added in background detail.

    Dr. Mitu Khurana is a brave woman. She struggled against her husband and her in-laws years ago when she was pregnant. They slipped eggs into her food, knowing she was allergic to them. Other times they denied her food and water. Her crime? To have become pregnant with two daughters and refused to abort them. In August 2005 she gave birth, but the pressure did not stop. It was suggested that she give her children up for adoption, while her mother-in-law once shoved her then four month old daughter down the stairs.

    In March 2008 Dr. Mitu was thrown out of her house by her husband, who is also a doctor. The next month she went back to their home only to discover that while ill (and in hospital), doctors had illegally performed a test to determine the sex of the foetus. Sex determination tests are illegal in India, as a response to the major imbalance between the sexes. There are 107 men for every 100 women in India, which translates to a gap of tens of millions. This is largely the result of abortion and the killing of female children. Many women go along with these tests, or even instigate them, but Dr. Mitu did not stay silent. She spoke out and filed a complaint with the Women’s Commission and various NGOs, and became the first woman to file a complaint under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act in Delhi.

    Continue Reading...
    11th January, 2010

    Event: Women’s uncensored experiences of detention and deportation

    by Sunny at 8:06 pm    

    Over 70% of women seeking asylum are rape survivors. Over 400 women and their families are currently detained at Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre[2]. Many are detained in other Centres throughout Britain.

    While the brutal detention of children is finally widely condemned, there is still little said about the detention of mothers and the impact of this on families, including children, as well as on other vulnerable people.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Events,Sex equality
    2nd January, 2010

    Anonymous applications

    by Rumbold at 11:40 am    

    Several studies have found that people with non ‘Anglo-Saxon/European’ (for wont of a better term) names (such as Muhammad) are less likely to get to the interview stage when applying for jobs, despite having very similar qualifications and work experience. The studies tested this by sending out applications with different names on them, but with virtually the same qualifications and employment history.

    Now campaigners are calling for all application forms and CVs to be anonymous, building on plans by previous advocates. This seems a sensible idea. A person’s name or gender aren’t actually needed until the interview stage (for the purposes of references), and this would be a cheap and simple way for companies to reduce discrimination when hiring. Applicants applying via CVs would be told not include certain details, whilst online application forms are easy enough to change. However, you should still be required to state your age, as often companies run training schemes on the basis of having the employee for years after that. In addition, an employer would be able to work out an applicant’s age by their employment history.

    27th November, 2009

    The papal problem

    by Rumbold at 12:29 pm    

    Gordon Brown is the latest in a long line to call for the repeal of the part of the 1701 Act of Settlement which bans Roman Catholics and those married to Roman Catholics from becoming our monarch. He also wants to change the line of succession so that it is the eldest child, not the eldest male child, who succeeds.

    The latter proposal seems sensible to me. There is no reason for males to be put ahead of females, especially not in the modern world. The proposal to allow Roman Catholics to ascend to the throne is more problematic though. Firstly there is the issue of the Church of England. The monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England and so for a Roman Catholic to take the throne they would either have to renounce their religion, or the church would have to be separated from the state. I don’t have a problem with the disestablishmentarian position, so perhaps the separation of church and state (and the expulsion of the bishops from the House of Lords) would be the best way forward.

    The 1701 act was conceived at a very different time, when William III was on the throne. He had no children, his wife had died and it looked likely that the throne would pass first to the Protestant Anne, then possibly to James II or his children (all of whom were Catholic). James II had only been deposed twelve years previously, and he still had supporters in the British, particularly from some Tories, Irish and Scots. He also had the backing of foreign continental powers, most notably Louis XIV (William III’s great enemy). To allow a Catholic the opportunity to take the throne was to risk another civil war. This problem has clearly disappeared.

    Continue Reading...
    23rd November, 2009

    A mother’s plea: Dr. Mitu Khurana

    by Rumbold at 11:16 am    

    Dr Mitu Khurana is a doctor in India who fears for her children’s lives after repeated attempts by her husband and her in-laws to abort and then kill her daughters (he wanted a son). Dr. Kamal Khurana denies the allegations, but an NGO and other groups have taken up Dr. Mitu’s case. Her case has been extensively covered in the India media, but it has still not brought her justice or the safety of her daughters. Here is her story in her own words:

    I, Mitu Khurana, a pediatrician and mother of twin girls, would like to share my experience in saving my girls from being killed by my husband and in laws while they were in my womb and subsequently after their birth.

    I got married to Dr Kamal Khurana in November 2004. Initially, there was a lot of dowry harassment. In January 2005 I became pregnant. An ultrasound showed that I was carrying twins. Then my mother-in-law started demanding that I undergo a sex determination test. I was even tortured to get it done. My husband and in-laws would deny me food and water and fight with me every day to undergo the sex determination tests. I, with full support from my parents, tried resisting it

    So my in-laws and husband got it done by deception. Knowing that I was allergic to eggs, they fed me cake made with eggs, all the while assuring me it was eggless. I developed allergic manifestations — stomachache, loose motions and vomiting. I was taken to the hospital.

    My mother-in-law asked me many times to at least get one child killed in-utero. I was kept without food and water. My husband who began ignoring me even turned me out of the house at 10:00 one night and asked me to go to my father’s house. When I asked him to let me take my mobile and car keys as I did not want to be stranded at night at this stage of pregnancy, he said “is ghar se kisi cheez ko haath lagaya to thapar parega (if you take anything from this house, I will slap you)”. My father-in-law intervened and asked my husband to let me stay the night, and in the morning I could be sent to my parents.

    Continue Reading...
    13th October, 2009

    Unit that counters human trafficking at risk

    by Rumbold at 7:25 pm    

    Jess McCabe at the F-Word reports that the specialist unit, which is focused on countering human trafficking, is at risk once again because of a lack of funding. This would be a blow, because, as Jess points out, the officers would be reassigned to other units where they probably would not work solely on trafficking cases.

    While all departments are having to make cutbacks, it must be pointed out that The Metropolitan police not only managed to lose £30 million in Iceland banks after their financial advisor told them to withdraw it (they did, then put it back without telling him), but also found £240,000 to send thirty nine staff to Beijing on a fact-finding mission last year. A clear indication of priorities.

    Sunny update: On twitter, liannedemello tells me that Jenny Jones AM is going to challenge London Mayor Boris Johnson on this tomorrow. After the recent plans to reduce funding to rape centres, it’s also clear where Boris’s priorities lie.

    more recent posts » « previous posts

    Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
    With the help of PHP and Wordpress.